What demands are driving your IT? Virtualization and cloud based services by Critical Consulting are the solutions to these demands.

IT Virtualization Demands

What demands are driving your IT? Virtualization technologies and cloud based services by Critical Consulting are the solutions to these demands. Contact us for a no cost review of your current IT setup, we will enhance your productivity and lower your total costs of IT.

 

Microsoft urges customers to ditch XP, Office 2003

By Juan Carlos Perez
Wed, February 26, 2014

Individuals and businesses sticking with the OS and suite after support ends in April face security risks, technical obsolescence, it warns

IDG News Service (Miami Bureau) — Microsoft has again painted a grim picture for customers who remain on Windows XP and Office 2003 after it ends support for the old OS and suite in early April, but it’s unclear if the company is succeeding in its campaign to convince holdouts to upgrade.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Microsoft reiterated that consumers and businesses that stick with the products past the April 8 deadline will face severe security risks and be unable to take advantage of technical advances.

“Computers currently running Windows XP and Office 2003 won’t stop working on April 9, but over time security and performance will be affected,” reads the post.

Specifically, Windows XP PCs won’t be able to run many “newer” applications or work with new hardware due to unsupported drivers. Additionally, PCs running the OS will become easy prey to malware, because Microsoft won’t release new security updates and bug fixes for it, nor offer support services and technical content updates. Office 2003, on the other hand, can’t provide modern mobility and cloud capabilities, according to Microsoft.

Unsurprisingly the solution the company offers is for customers to adopt Windows 8.1 and Office 365, while acknowledging that in most instances PCs running Windows XP lack the hardware specs to run the new OS. “The majority of PCs running Windows XP are not capable of upgrading to Windows 8.1 due to the age of the hardware,” the post reads.

Michael Silver, a Gartner analyst, said that while it’s certainly possible to move from Windows XP to Windows 8.1, “it’s not as simple as it should be.” Users who are still on Windows XP, especially consumers, should see the approaching deadline as an opportunity to start afresh by moving their local files to cloud storage and by possibly replacing their PC with a tablet or a Chromebook. “As long as they need to move, perhaps it’s time for something radically different,” Silver said via email.

Windows XP remains quite popular despite its age — it was first released in 2001. According to the latest figures from NetApplications, Windows XP has an almost 30 percent share of the desktop OS market, second only to Windows 7 which has about 47 percent. By contrast, Windows 8, which started shipping in October 2012, and its 8.1 update, released a year later, have a combined share of about 10.6 percent.

Windows 8 and its update have drawn criticism for their touch-optimized interface and a series of disruptive bugs. Microsoft is promising another update for the spring that will make the OS friendlier for mouse-and-keyboard users, but the impression in the marketplace is that Microsoft has struggled to get Windows 8 right. The most pessimistic critics have likened Windows 8 to the disastrous Windows Vista, released in 2007 and generally panned.

Office 2003 is also still heavily used. According to the results of a Forrester Research survey released in October, Office 2003 was in use in 28 percent of businesses polled, behind Office 2007 (51 percent) and Office 2010 (85 percent). The latest version of Office — called Office 2013 when sold via traditional perpetual license and Office 365 when sold via an annual subscription — was at the time used in 22 percent of companies polled, and with a slower adoption than Office 2010 at a comparable stage of release, according to Forrester.

Juan Carlos Perez covers enterprise communication/collaboration suites, operating systems, browsers and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Juan on Twitter at @JuanCPerezIDG.

Coming in 2014, Intel to release 15-core server chips! Two times faster than their predecessors.

The next generation of machines are going to be so powerful.

Get your servers out of the closet, and move your workload to the cloud with Critical Cloud by Critical Consulting.

IDG News Service – Intel has added up to 15 cores in its latest Xeon E7 v2 family of server processors, but is stressing in-memory computing improvements with the latest chips.

The latest Xeon E7-4800 v2 chips, which are based on the Ivy Bridge microarchitecture, will be Intel’s fastest server processors to date. The chips will go into high-uptime servers with up to 32 sockets, which typically handle enterprise applications such as databases, analytics tools and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software.

Intel's Xeon E7 v2 processor silicon

Intel’s Xeon E7 v2 processor silicon

The new chips will have the most cores ever put in an Intel chip, and will boost server performance in a power-efficient way. Intel’s Xeon E5 v2 server chips, which shipped in the third quarter, have 12 CPU cores. Advanced Micro Devices, which also ships x86 server processors, has a maximum of 16 cores in its chips.

Applications tied to in-memory computing such as databases will get a boost with new throughput features and memory capacity of 1.5TB per socket. The Xeon E7 v2 chips, code-named Ivytown, will run at clock speeds between 1.4GHz and 3.8GHz, and draw between 40 watts and 150 watts of power. Intel is shipping 20 new chips in that family with between two and 15 cores.

The new E7 chips are two times faster than their predecessors released last year, said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Center Group, during a webcast.

There is a two-and-a-half-times increase in memory bandwidth, and the I/O capabilities have scaled up four times thanks to more data transfer lanes. Another new feature is support for the PCI-Express 3.0 protocol, which is already available on Intel’s midrange Xeon E5 server chips. With support for multithreading, the 15-core Ivytown chip will be able to run 30 threads simultaneously.

The chips are targeted at sectors such as finance and oil and gas that need high-uptime servers and deal with large data sets to make real-time decisions, Bryant said.

Bryant provided the example of credit card companies using real-time analytics with social media information to identify fraud. For such tasks, high levels of processing and reliable servers are needed to generate real-time results, which is where the E7 v2 chips fit in, Bryant said.

Software from Microsoft, Oracle and SAP will take advantage of the processing and reliability features on the new server chips, Bryant said.

The chip also has 37.5MB in cache, which is an important performance booster. Data is transferred from processor to cache, and a large amount of cache will play a key role in boosting the performance of in-memory applications, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.

“When you have that larger amount of memory that close to the CPU, you get a significant performance boost from applications,” McCarron said.

Rack servers with the new E7 v2 chips will have larger memory capacity, which will help process data and respond to queries quicker than predecessor chips, server makers said. Hewlett-Packard and Dell are among 21 server makers that are shipping or will announce products based on Intel’s new server chip family.

Dell announced the new PowerEdge R920 server, which will run on the new Intel chips. The server is twice as fast in responding to Oracle queries, said Brian Payne, executive director of server solutions.

The four-socket R920 will support up to 6TB of memory. The server will have the ability to virtualize more workloads and transfer them to memory faster, Payne said.

“Behind the memory, the focus is on having a very fast, capable storage tier,” Payne said.

The PowerEdge R920 is compatible with the NVMe (Non-Volatile Memory Express) storage interface, an emerging protocol for solid-state drives. NVMe is expected to replace protocols such as SATA, which is the primary interface for hard drives.

Hewlett-Packard announced the Proliant DL580 Gen8 server, which is also a four-socket server with support for up to 6TB of memory. The server is targeted at data-intensive workloads and “big-data analytics,” said Kate O’Neill, director of global marketing of HP’s server group.

“We see huge trends in volumes of data dramatically increasing and the velocity of data and how it is handled,” O’Neill said.

HP claimed a 2.3 times improvement in server performance compared to predecessors, and twice the SSD performance with the company’s Smart Array SAS controllers. HP is also claiming 2.7 times better I/O performance with support for PCI-Express 3.0.

HP has placed its bet on the power-efficient Moonshot system, which has smaller ProLiant server cartridges, is based on x86 and will also in the future run on ARM-based chips. But that server is targeted at Internet-scale Web and cloud workloads, while high-end systems like the DL580 Gen8 are for organizations in the telecom, financial and other sectors that require high-uptime servers. Intel has built some new reliability, availability and serviceability features into the chip that can correct data errors.

The server makers also said the Xeon E7 v2 will impact server design and consolidate systems. More performance can be packed in fewer servers, which could lower electric bills.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam’s e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Outlook 2013 Now Available

Outlook 2013 Unlocks Mobility and Usability in Exchange 2013outlook2013

At the end of 2012, we announced the release of Microsoft Outlook 2013—the newest version of the world’s most popular business email client. We wanted to provide you with more details about how this software helps, especially in terms of mobility and usability.

Outlook 2013’s new features significantly enhance the user’s experience. The software is available as an optional feature with hosted Exchange 2013. Current customers with Outlook purchased through Critical Consulting can choose to upgrade to Outlook 2013 for free.

Outlook 2013 brings together the mobile device, app store, and social worlds while enabling users to be more productive. Its new user-focused features include:

  • ·Responsive design optimized for tablets and small screens. Outlook 2013 adapts itself based on the device being used. Touch mode is available for tablets and touchscreen laptops.

  • ·Quick response. Simplified experience of responding to email by in-line composing without having to open a new window, and the enhanced inbox view makes the names stand out in the message list.

  • ·People Hub for integrating social contacts. Includes contacts in users’ Outlook profiles and can include contacts from social networks. In addition to standard contact information, users can view a contact’s social network updates.

  • ·Apps for Outlook. Cloud-enabled application integrates rich, scenario-focused content and services together with Outlook 2013. Apps for Outlook are available from a specially created marketplace. (Available only with Exchange 2013.)

  • ·Better performance. Outlook 2013 performance is considerably faster than previous versions.

To learn how you can get Outlook 2013 as part of the Critical Cloud hosted Exchange service, contact Critical Consulting at 407-925-7393

Voice Cloud Hosted PBX – Free Cisco Phone!

Voice Cloud Hosted PBX: Get a Free Cisco Desk Phone for Every New User

This unbeatable
offer has been
extended through
March 31st.

Voice Cloud Hosted PBX offers a VoIP solution that perfectly complements your existing IT services.

With Voice Cloud Hosted PBX, you can deliver enterprise-grade calling features while cutting costs and preserving capital. And now you can save even more—because we’ve extended our offer of a free pre-configured Cisco SPA 303G IP desk phone for each new Hosted PBX user!

 

This promo is worth $125 per user. The details are simple:

  • Offer available for new accounts or new users from existing accounts. Now extended through March 31, 2013

  • Requires a 12-month contract

  • Phones are pre-configured for each end-user – just plug them in and they’re ready to go

 

Voice Cloud Hosted PBX: the perfect system for Small and Medium sized Businesses

Voice Cloud Hosted PBX lets you have the same enterprise-grade calling features found in Fortune 500 companies.

Contact us Today to get started!

Exchange 2013 Boarding Pass

CLASS: FIRST
EXCLUSIVE PASSENGER TICKET

ONLY FOR CRITICAL CONSULTING CLIENTS

Name: EMAIL PLATFORMS OF THE PAST
   
DEPARTING: ON-PREMISE EXCHANGE 2003/2007/2010
   
ARRIVING: HOSTED EXCHANGE 2013
  UPGRADE INCLUDES: LYNC 2013 AND SHAREPOINT 2013
   
 
DATE:

2013

GATE:

E13

SEAT:

SAVED



CRITICAL CONSULTING – Your Business Cloud

BOARDING PASS
Your ticket to onboard Hosted Exchange 2013 has arrived.

Take your business systems to new altitudes with Exchange, Lync and SharePoint 2013.

The opportunities for your business

The business world has grown astonishingly mobile since Exchange 2003 and 2007 came out. Any business still running on-premise Exchange 2003/2007 lags far behind.

This is your opportunity. Hosted Exchange 2013 lets you make your business far more mobile— harness the superior reliability and lower costs of the cloud.

The benefits for your business

Here’s how Exchange, Lync and SharePoint 2013 help your customers collaborate more effectively on any device, in any location:

Mobility

Meet your mobile productivity demands

Email, calendar, contacts: Exchange 2013

Enhance your core productivity tools

Chat: Lync 2013

Extend secure, business-grade, real-time chat

Content Management: SharePoint 2013

Enable on-the-go content access

Plus: Better reliability

The cloud improves reliability far beyond on-premise servers

 

Exchange, Lync and SharePoint 2013 are now available for new customer accounts.

Encrypted Email Solutions – Exchange 2013

Tech Bytes

ASSURING ONLY YOU READ YOUR EMAIL

Consider this: What would be the cost to your business if an email with sensitive client information—such as credit card numbers or health records—got into the wrong hands?

In 2010, more than 107 trillion emails (Pingdom) were sent – and this number is drastically increasing year over year. Email has become such second nature that we don’t think twice before sending our most personal information through this easy communication channel.

Most good email providers go to great lengths to protect your email in datacenters, and many companies have put good security practices into place to protect email access. But, as email travels across the Internet, it is vulnerable to data breaches, data leaks, and hackers. Rogue employees also pose risks for distributing information inappropriately.

Businesses can face litigation, fines, and loss of reputation if any personal information about their customers is exposed via email or other means. For instance, the Federal government’s HIPAA act mandates that healthcare providers secure email communication with encryption technology. Financial services firms also face regulation under the Sarbanes-Oxley act. Several states, including California and Massachusetts, have passed their own legislation requiring email encryption.

Yet, even now, many businesses have no email encryption technology in place. One data breach can jeopardize the trusted relationship you have with your customers. Unfortunately, many businesses are unaware that the problem can be solved with simple controls over the communications coming and going from their company – anything from bad language to confidential information.

Potential Cost of Unsecured Data Email Breach

The average cost of a data breach incident for U.S. organizations in 2011 was $5.5 million and $194 per record. No matter the size of your business, your company may be held financially responsible in the event of a data loss. Many companies look to do the bare minimum to protect themselves, but this leaves the business and all of its data vulnerable. Encryption adds an additional layer of protection on top of your regular email security that any business dealing with personal and confidential information needs to have. By encrypting your email, it makes the information virtually unreadable as it travels across the Internet, thus protecting private information about you and your customers.

Savings are not just accrued in avoiding penalties and fines. A study from Thomson Reuters found that 71 percent of global compliance professionals foresaw that an increase in time and resources would be required to work with regulators and exchanges to ensure they would be ready and prepared to meet rising compliance requirements. Up-front investment in encryption will assure safety and can save small businesses from having to put personnel resources toward fixing the problem once it occurs.

Private Information Overload

It’s important to note that emails do not often end at the original destination. If you forward information about an employee’s medical condition to your HR manager, he or she may need to forward that on to your corporate lawyer and your health insurance provider. Now information that was originally traded internally has moved outside your network and can continue to move without your knowledge. Yet, your company is still responsible for controlling the dissemination of that information.

Not only can email encryption protect against poaching of confidential information, but IT managers can also set in place rules to automatically flag and review all outbound emails before they leave the internal network. This prevents sensitive information or even email with profanity from leaving your company.

Questions and Actions

Now that you have the background, you still might be asking yourself, how do I know if my business really needs encryption? A good rule of thumb is to consider an encryption solution if you answer yes to one or both of these questions:

  • Do you share confidential information about your business or customers over email – such as account numbers, dates of birth, or highly sensitive internal strategy documents?
  • Do you operate in a regulated industry or geography? Here are some examples of current legislation in place:
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
  • California Security Breach Notification Act (SB 1386)
  • Massachusetts Encryption Law (201 CMR17.00)
  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX)
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA)

If you answered yes to either of these questions, it is time to start the encryption discussion with your email provider. By taking this step now, you could be saving a lot of time and money later.

There’s a lot at stake for businesses that are not compliant with federal and industry regulations regarding email encryption, including litigation, fines, and loss of reputation in the event of a data breach. While many states and industries have passed laws holding businesses financially responsible in the case of a leak, email encryption still remains an afterthought. Businesses need control of the communications that are coming and going from their company, from foul language to confidential material. SMBs should consider the potential costs they could face and the security their email services have to offer. Talk to your email provider about its email encryption today.

Exchange Lync Sharepoint 2013

Exchange, Lync, SharePoint 2013 from Critical Consulting LLC

Exchange 2013, Lync 2013, and SharePoint 2013 – the best choice for business-grade communications and collaboration. Optimized for mobility. Delivered from our worry-free cloud – CONTACT US NOW FOR IMMEDIATE SETUP.

Exchange 2013, Lync 2013, and SharePoint 2013 help your employees connect to critical information and to each other.

New Features

Exchange 2013
The latest version of the world’s most popular business email and collaboration platform

Redesigned OWA improves user experience for mobile employees

  • Fresh, clean, modern design (Windows 8)
  • Automatically adjusts for device type
  • Inline composition

New features boost employee productivity

  • Email: Apps show content directly in email
  • Contacts: Unified contacts and fast search technology
  • Calendar: Month/Agenda view in OWA
  • Offline Access for OWA

Lync 2013
New version of secure, business-grade, real-time chat

Improvements on desktop and web app for mobile users

  • New hover bar and tabbed conversations
  • Lync Web App: join a meeting from anywhere
  • Video preview

SharePoint 2013
Latest version of the business-grade document-sharing service

Easier for users and admins

  • Windows 8 look and feel
  • SharePoint App Store
  • Simplified site permissions for admins
 
Is Exchange 2013 right for your business?
  • Do you have mobile employees or employees who work in different offices? (New OWA, Lync, SharePoint)
  • Is having a reliable Exchange service important to you?
  • Is it important for you to be able to reach technical and customer support around the clock?
  • Are you looking for a smooth migration to the cloud?
  • Is it important for you to be able to manage the settings of Exchange and your other cloud services?
  • Is having access to the latest technology and newest features important to your business?
 
FAQs
What Outlook clients are supported with Exchange 2013?
Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2011 for Mac and Entourage 2008 (web services)
When will we offer Outlook 2013?
As soon as Microsoft releases the individual built of Outlook 2013, we will make it available to our customers. We expect this to happen shortly.
When will BlackBerry be offered?
As soon as RIM releases their update for Exchange 2013. In the meantime, BlackBerry users can use OWA via the mobile browser.
I’ve read about some other features included in Exchange 2013 like compliance, data loss protection, and anti-malware. Why isn’t Critical Consulting offering those?
Critical Consulting has long offered solutions for data loss protection with our Encrypted Email add-on, which allows companies to set up outbound mail content filtering and automatically encrypts emails containing sensitive information. We also provide anti-malware with SpamStopper and VirusStopper products, which are included with every plan. For companies needing archiving, companies can choose from a wide variety of third-party archiving providers, including LiveOffice and Global Relay.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials released to manufacturing

Windows Server 2012 Essentials is a significant milestone in our efforts to help cloud-enable small businesses and home offices. It is designed to help you protect business data, to allow highly secure access to the information you need from virtually anywhere by using almost any device, and to offer the flexibility to choose which applications and services you want to run on-premises and in the cloud—we have even made it easier than ever before to run Essentials itself in a hosted environment. Excitement about the release of Windows Server 2012 Essentials has been growing. In 8 weeks of public previews, we’ve had more than 23,000 downloads—far surpassing pre-release downloads of past versions.

Today I am pleased to tell you that Windows Server 2012 Essentials has reached the release to manufacturing (RTM) milestone. We are delivering the product to our hardware and ecosystem partners, and it will be generally available in all channels on November 1, with OEM partners shipping server systems by the end of the year.